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Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

thinking“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven” – John Milton, from the 17th century poem Paradise Lost. How our thinking affects our wellbeing is not a new idea.

Cognitive Behavioural Coaching research shows that all our emotions and all our actions come from our thinking. Once you grasp this simple concept, you have the power to change your life for the better. The way we think about things has a huge influence on our level of happiness, our career, and success in life.

Be conscious of your thoughts

Sometimes we think on a sub-conscious level, and the path from thinking to feeling can be completed in a split-second. Let’s take an example: your boss takes you into her office and reprimands you for making a mistake. You feel angry and hurt and the incident puts you in a bad frame of mind for the rest of the week. The fact is, you didn’t feel angry and hurt because the boss told you off, you felt that way as a result of what you thought about the incident.

You may have been thinking “It’s not fair. She’s always picking on me. I hate her. I’ll never get promoted.” These kinds of thoughts are destructive and don’t lead you to taking any positive action. If you continue to nurture these thoughts for a long time, you can get stuck in a downward spiral of negativity and inertia.

Form new thinking habits

Let’s make one thing very clear. I’m not saying you should eliminate negative thoughts altogether – that would be impossible. Having these bad thoughts from time to time is part of being human. What I am saying is you can learn to identify, minimise and dismiss unhealthy thinking, and learn to nurture healthy thinking.

Going back to our example, it’s OK and natural to be upset for a little while, but there should come a time when you make a conscious decision to think more rationally and constructively. For instance, “I did make a mistake, and I can learn from it. She may not be the most caring boss, but she’s not a spiteful person. What can I do from this point on to improve my career prospects?”

Start now

If you’ve let negative thinking habits become ingrained in your psyche, it requires some effort to consciously turn things around. This is where life coaching can help. But the more you do it, the easier it will become, and you will be on your way to a better life.

What do you think? Let me know in the comment section below.

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